Smart, funny, and brimming with insights.
– Danield Gilbert, Professor Harvard University

Examples of Speaking Topics Include:

The Psychology of Unethical and Biased Behavior

Our knee-jerk response to ethically dubious or outrageous behavior is to rely upon a bad apples explanation (i.e., bad people are to blame for bad things). In reality, there’s much more to it, as any compliance official knows. Drawing upon examples from business, sports, and other domains, this talk explores the ways in which unethical behaviors are often surprisingly context-dependent, incremental, unintentional, and contagious.

The Curse of Expertise: Why the Best Players Make the Worst Coaches

Across sports, there is no shortage of examples of elite players who have tried their hands at coaching and front office positions with less than impressive results. Explanations for this tendency abound, but an important and often overlooked factor is what behavioral scientists refer to as the curse of expertise: as people become more expert in performing a given task, we simultaneously tend to become worse at explaining this performance to others. This talk considers the curse of expertise in sports, as well as business and other endeavors in which transmitting knowledge from one entity to another is essential, and identifies strategies for overcoming it.

Lessons from Sports for Making Better Decisions

Why do fans fling themselves over upper-level railings to catch free t-shirts they wouldn’t spend a dollar of their own money on? Why do front offices pull the trigger and fire head coaches so frequently despite evidence that doing so hurts rather than helps teams in the long run? Why does rooting for a losing team cement identity in a way that rooting for a winner can’t duplicate? This talk explores these and other questions, as well as the lessons they offer for consumer psychology, brand loyalty, personnel decisions, and other domains related to improving decision-making in your professional and personal life.

The Science of Diversity and Implicit Bias

Talking about race, culture, gender, and other forms of diversity can be tricky. These conversations can be uncomfortable, can make people defensive and dismissive, and can be counterproductive. Along with his colleague at Tufts, Keith Maddox, Sam has extensive experience conducting such discussions in an engaging yet non-threatening manner that gets people thinking about their own expectations and tendencies in new ways. These interactive presentations convey the latest scientific research on diversity-related issues in terms that are accessible, relevant, and thought-provoking, and can be tailored to meet the unique objectives and size of your organization.